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Vegan in Dubrovnik – A Guide

July 25, 2016

Being vegan or vegetarian in Croatia isn’t very common. In fact, when some of my (Balkan-based) family learned that I was vegetarian they didn’t believe me, and definitely didn’t believe that I would even survive. 10 years later, most of them have somehow grasped it, but depend on me eating cheese, eggs and such instead. So if you’re a vegan, you’re a rare kind. Traveling in Croatia as a vegan is not the easiest, but luckily it’s getting easier and easier – especially in the more popular tourist destinations. Dubrovnik is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and once you visit you will see why. It’s a wonderful, beautiful town. Being vegan in Dubrovnik might not be the easiest thing, but I was there just a few weeks ago and did some research on the vegan food scene. Here’s my guide to visiting Dubrovnik as a vegan:

  • Stay in an apartment or a good hotel

When we were in Dubrovnik we stayed in a wonderful hotel that had some options for vegans during breakfast, but not much else. They had rice and soya milk, sourdough bread (which is made with no animal ingredients), lots of veggies and fruit, marmalade and so on. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, do check in advance what they offer. However, a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels is booking an apartment with a kitchen. I find this option makes me feel more like a local than a tourist and you can often get great tips from the hosts. Try AirBnb, Booking.com or hotels.com (yes they have apartments too!). When you rent your own apartment with a kitchen you can make your own breakfast and on-the-go lunch as well as the occasional dinner. Not only is this a cheaper alternative than eating out all the time (believe me, I’ve learned the hard way!) but you can ensure that your food is vegan. Plus all the veggies are so much more delicious when they are grown in Croatia.

  • Nischta

Nischta is one of my favorite restaurants! Not only in Dubrovnik but one of my all-time favorites. I’ve written about it here before. The menu is vegetarian and vegan and most of the vegetarian tems can be ordered vegan, which is great. The food is absolutely delicious and the staff is really friendly. It is located on one of the small streets, parallel to the main street in the Old Town, Stradun. Make sure you book a table ahead if you’re eating dinner there though, as it is often fully-booked during evenings.  I could eat here every single day, but beware it’s closed on Sundays.
Where: Old Town, Prijeko bb
More information an d menu on website.

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Bowl with rice, veggies and tofu

  • Marco Polo Restaurant

Marco Polo is a regular restaurant but also serves vegan food. There’s a vegan salad with apples, walnuts, and cranberries, a tofu steak with wok vegetables, and wok rice noodles with veggies and soya sauce. Although I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the restaurant, I hear it’s very good. We did walk past it and it looks very nice so I definitely recommend coming here if you’re visiting. Plus, it’s perfect if you’re with a meatie who craves something other than veg food.
Where:  Old town – Lučarica ul. 6
More information and menu here

  • Bio&Bio

Bio&bio is a health store with shops throughout Croatia and makes it that much easier to be vegan in Dubrovnik! The Dubrovnik shop is located a bit outside of the Old Town but you can easily walk there or take the bus from Pile gate. Here you’ll find lots of vegan food – vegan snack bars, plant-based milk, patés, tofu, seitan “meat” and other vegan items. Shop ’til you drop and go cook yourself a lovely meal before you head out for the evening.

Where: Vukovarska 36, Dubrovnik (walk there or take the bus from Pile gate to the Tommy centre). You can buy tickets on the bus.

  • Be nice and ask!

Most restaurants who don’t have anything for you on the menu will make something just for you. They are used to tourists and you’re probably not the first vegan to walk into the restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask. I normally ask the host/hostess before entering if they have anything I can eat and if they don’t, they often say which dishes the chefs can make for you. If they don’t have anything, well, at least you’ve let them know there’s a demand for it.

  • Farmer’s market

Buy fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruiton the daily open farmer’s market in the Old Town. Get there early and buy everything from juicy, ripe tomatoes to herbs and olive oil at better prices than in the supermarkets. There’s also a farmer’s market in Gruz (by the harbour in Dubrovnik) but it’s also a fish market so be prepared to see a lot of dead fish 😉 .

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Gruz farmer’s market

I think that covers it for now, but as soon as I hear more about new vegan-friendly places I’ll make sure to add them here – do let me know in the comments if you’ve found a good restaurant or shop with a proper vegan selection. So as you can see, although Dubrovnik isn’t covered with vegan restaurants on every corner, being vegan in Dubrovnik can definitely be done with some research and planning – and preferably a small kitchen.

Beauty

Avoid Getting a Sunburn This Summer

July 22, 2016
avoid getting a sunburn

While we’re well into summer at this point, and you hopefully have managed to avoid a sunburn I still wanted to write my best tips on how to avoid getting a sunburn – be it this summer or next. Truthfully, I am talking from experience. The last few years I have been really careful not to get sunburnt, as my skin is extremely sensitive and I easily get UV damages. UV damage on the skin is a darker area on the skin that gets darker and darker the more sun you get, and it is usually caused by sunburn. This year, while vacationing in Croatia, I wasn’t as careful though and wound up with some pretty hurtful, painfully red areas on my body. Ouch! Without further ado here’s how to avoid getting a sunburn:

  1. Start at a higher SPF and work your way down.
    Look, I get it. You want a tan. My normal skintone is somewhere between Morticia Addams and Voldemort, so naturally I like a little bit of color during the summer. The color I’m after, however, isn’t Jessica Rabbit’s hair so I like to start off with SPF 30 when I travel south. In Denmark, I usually don’t go that high, and if you live in a warmer climate your skin gets used to the UV rays a bit more, but I’d still recommend to start off with something  around SPF15-20. Don’t overdo it though – SPF 15 blocks around 93% of the damaging rays while SPF50 blocks around 98. So the difference isn’t huge – however, sun screens with a higher SPF contain more ingredients, which can be bad if you’re sensitive.
    After a few days of sun and SPF30, I usually switch to SPF15-30.
  2. Higher SPF for your face…AND chest!
    Many people have a specific sun screen for the face, with a bit higher SPF. The skin on your face is more sensitive and the sun can easily cause damage here – everything from lines and wrinkles to dark spots (UV damage). But the skin on your neck and upper chest is actually just as sensitive! So use your face cream for the face, neck and chest.
  3. Apply sunscreen generously!
    Since there’s no difference in sun protection between cheaper and more expensive sun screens, always go for the cheaper one so that you can apply it generously all over your face and body. If you don’t, you risk not getting full protection. Remember that you must apply your sunscreen every 2 hours!
  4. That parasol though!
    I’m not going to tell you to stay out of the sun between 11-16 (11am-4pm) because well, what else are you supposed to do on your vacation? Of course you want to be in the sun! If it’s possible, I always rent a parasol at the beach and put it up sporadically throughout the day to get a little bit of shade. This is partly because I don’t want a sunburn and partly because I feel like a fried egg in a pan and can barely breathe with the sun on me all day. Plus: your drink stays cool! 😉
  5. Get in the nude!
    One of the best things I’ve learned over the years is to apply your sunscreen before you head out to the beach and before you put on any clothes. Otherwise, I would always end up with a sunburn around the edges of my bikini, areas I often overlook when I put on sunscreen at the beach, and it hurts like hell! So get in the nude and start slathering that sunscreen on!

liveandletsgocom

Photos from Elle Sweden, July 2016 issue.

Food, Places I've Been

One of the Best Restaurants in Dubrovnik: Nautika

July 4, 2016
restaurants in dubrovnik

One of the days in Dubrovnik I needed something to cheer me up. Not because anything was wrong; I was just in a mellow mood. I had done some research on the best restaurants in Dubrovnik but essentially decided to just try one of the cozy restaurants down by the Pile Gate, overlooking Fort Lovrjenac (also known as King’s Landing in HBO series Game of Thrones), called Nautika. It has been recognized by the infamous Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the sixth most romantic restaurant in the world. I couldn’t agree more. The view was spectacular and luckily we were able to get a table for two with no reservations. Although it wasn’t any of the tables that offered a prime first row view, we still enjoyed both the view and our fantastic truffle pastas. In short, Nautika is one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik because of the impeccable service and the food…. oh, the food! And the wine… Oh, the wine! 

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This view though…

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My man <3

We skipped starters and wanted to jump straight to our truffle pasta, but were treated with an amuse-bouche and some Croatian olive-oil.

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Great local wine and olive-oil.

Later the truffle pasta was served and it just melted in our mouths. Oh, how I love truffle pasta! I could eat it every single day, and this one was one of the finer ones I’ve had.

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Truffle pasta with fresh Istrian truffles

Although the meal was a hot starter, like most pastas in restaurants are, we were quite full and didn’t go for dessert. However, upon asking for the bill we were given some home-made, orange scented chocolate which tasted sublime as well.

Needless to say after showing you these pictures Nautika is definitely one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik; not just for the fantastic views but the impeccable service, the tasty food prepared with perfect attention to details, and the Croatian wine we enjoyed. It’s not by any means one of the cheapest restaurants in the city, but if you’re celebrating or just want to splurge I’d say Nautika is a fantastic choice for that.

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My view was perfect, as you can see 😉

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All in all a lovely meal I’ll still be dreaming of many years from now.

Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Zadar

June 23, 2016

Zadar is the city in Croatia that I’ve been to the most times. When I was a child, we’d come here every summer to visit our relatives and we always had a blast, whether it was playing at the beach or eating ice cream cones in the old town. Of course, I’ve been there as an adult as well to visit family and now I like it even more than I used to. Zadar is larger than popular Dubrovnik and has a wonderful city center made up of the Old Town, as it is in many Croatian cities. Zadar is located north from Split, around a two hour drive on the freeway, and is over 3,000 years old. Pretty impressive, right? The city boasts with architecture from Roman times, such as the Roman Forum and Iaderae monuments from the Middle Ages, countless churches and monasteries etc. If you don’t know which Croatian city to visit this summer, I’ve created a short, yet extensive guide to Zadar.

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Me in Zadar, enjoying the sunset a couple of years ago.

Stay at…

The most popular way of living in Croatia is renting apartments or rooms from locals. Check out booking.com or hotels.com (adlink) to find some pretty nice places. Staying this way is quite cheap and you can stay in the neighborhoods where the locals live, getting to know the Croatian way of live. However, there are also many nice hotels – Falkensteiner has some really nice hotels in Zadar, including the Adriana Hotel by Borik located just by the beach and a 20 minute walk to the city centre, while the Iadera hotel and spa is located a bit outside of the city but has a real luxury feeling to it (full disclosure, one of my family members works there but I haven’t been paid to write this 😉 ). If you’re a backpacker and just want some place cheap and nice, there are plenty of hostels as well – again check Booking and Hotels.

Enjoy sunny days…

One of the most popular beaches in Zadar is Borik, it’s quite large and there’s something for everyone here. The adventurous types can rent a scooter and the kids can play by the children’s area. The beach is mostly pebbles, as in most of Croatia. Another popular beach is Kolovare, frequented by both locals and tourists, and the recipient of the international Blue Flag award – a symbol for clean water and quality. If you have a car, you can drive 12 km north of Zadar to Petrcane, a very popular beach in a small fishing village. This beach has markets, restaurant and everything else you could possibly need. Close by is also the popular beach in Nin, where you can smother yourself in the famous medicinal mud, which is said to treat everything from rheumatic diseases to skin diseases (although I’d recommend it just for the fun of it – your skin becomes really soft!).

Nin medicinal mud

Here’s Jacob, covered in the medicinal mud of Nin. You apply it straight from the ground, wear it for half an hour and wash it off in the sea.

guide to zadar

The sunset in Zadar – isn’t it one of the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen?

Visit…

You can’t write a guide to Zadar without mentioning The Greeting to the sun and the Sea Organ, which is also the best location to watch the famous Zadar sunset. The Greeting to the sun is a unique light installation which uses sunlight to create amazing light shows in the evening. The Sea Organ is just as unique and plays soft and relaxing music with the help of the waves coming in from the ocean. Sit here with your loved ones and enjoy the sunset, the music, and the light show. You’ll find several national parks which can easily be reached by bus or car, Plitvice Lakes is a 2 hour drive away but you can also visit the picturesque waterfalls of Krka near Sibenik or visit the Paklenica canyons, both just a 50 minute ride away. If you have access to a boat, I highly recommend sailing out to the Kornati archipelago. The water is crystal clear and bright blue and the lack of tourists makes it the perfect place to really get away from the everyday vacation life.

Don’t miss: The Full Moon Night, usually in August, when the city turns the lights off down the main street Riva and the locals make traditional dishes you can taste.

guide to zadar

Old Roman forum ruins

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The Greeting to the sun

Feeling adventurous?

Go river rafting in the Zrmanja river, located one hour away by car or bus. You can go rafting April-October. If you visit during the summer months, the water levels are usually lower and calmer while a spring or autumn visit will give you more of an adrenaline rush. There are a few different river rafting centres, check out Raftrek, HuckFinn, and Riva Rafting Centar. I did river rafting while in Montenegro/Bosnia last year and it was such a wonderful experience, so I really recommend this if you want to see the best of Croatian nature.

Shop…

The main street in the old town, Riva, has many good shops whether you’re looking for fashion or locally produced souvenirs. If it’s raining out while you’re visiting Zadar, you can indulge in an afternoon of shopping at the Supernova shopping center, which has an abundance of international and local stores for men, women and children alike.

guide to zadar

You can’t miss St Donatus Chruch if you’re shopping in Zadar.

Eat at…

There are many great restaurants in the Old town and there’s really something for everyone. But my favorite restaurant is located outside of theold city and is called Mamma Mia. They make the best lasagna you will ever taste (whether you choose the vegetarian or the meat version). The staff is friendly and food is amazing! Other places worth mentioning are Restaurant Bruschetta and Pasta & Svasta. If you’re vegan, the restaurant Art of Raw serves vegan raw food daily during high season (closed if the weather’s bad) in the lovely The Garden, which has an amazing view of Zadar.

Get your party on at…

Zadar is not just for families. If you want to sip cocktails or party all night long, Zadar’s the city for you as well. The Garden Lounge that I mentioned above has such wonderful scenery and atmosphere, and so has Lounge & Bar Ledana, so it’s a must to grab a drink here. Otherwise there’s Maraschino – café by day, night club by night, or Yachting Bar close to the Borik beach. Also, be sure to check out Podroom which is open during weekends and is the place to party all night long

guide to zadar

The sun is setting behind the mountains…

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Zadar, whether you’ve visited it before or not. It’s truly a lovely and underestimated city – and cheaper than both Dubrovnik and Split.

Travel

How To Stay in Luxury Hotels On A Budget

June 21, 2016
Luxury hotels on a budget

Who doesn’t want to stay in luxury hotels while vacationing without blowing your budget? My first five star hotel experience was the Hilton Park Lane in London when I was there for my birthday last year. We were upgraded to a room on the 26:th floor, welcomed with delicious pastry in our room, and enjoyed having a 10-minute-walk to Oxford Street as well as one of my favorite bars in London, Galvin at Windows, a few floors up.  It was such a fantastic way to spend my birthday. For me, the hotel is definitely part of the experience of traveling. Sure, you can stay in a hostel or a hotel outside of the city centre if that’s what your budget or preferance is, but if you have a bit more money to spare the price difference between a 3, 4 and 5 star hotel isn’t always as big as you would expect – at least not if you know how to get the best deals. As for me, I think enhancing my travel experience with a good hotel is worth the extra money. Getting away and living in luxury for a few days will linger long after the hotel bills are payed. To this day I remember my stay in London as one of my best weekend getaways. Of course, I don’t necessarily have the money required for staying in 5 star hotels, but I do have some very good tips for staying in luxury hotels on a budget:

Look for the best deals

There are some great sites to use if you want the best deals on luxury hotels, such as secretescapes.com (adlink) or Trivago.com. While Trivago helps you find the hotel booking site with the best deal on a specific hotel, Secret Escapes has offers from luxury hotels all over the world that offer heavily discounted prices on specific dates. It’s always worth checking out if you’re going somewhere – you could end up staying in a luxury hotel for the same price as you would pay for two people in a private dorm in a hostel.

Join A Hotel Members/Loyalty Club

If you’re often staying in hotels, it might be a good idea to join their members clubs for good offers and discounts. I always book through hotels.com (adlink) and joined their Rewards program a while ago. The Rewards program lets you collect the number of nights in a hotel and once you have collected 10 nights (1 night = 1 night in the reward program) you get a one night stay for free! If you collect 20 nights, you get 2 stays and so on. The Rewards program is great and has actually enabled me to get a stay in a 5 star hotel for our upcoming trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a very reasonable price.

Take a chance

No hotel wants empty rooms, so if you want to take a chance you can always check for rooms right before you leave. Many times it’s cheaper to book a few days or a week before you arrive, because the hotel wants to fill the rooms. Of course, you do risk not getting a to stay at any luxury hotel at all if everything’s already booked, but oftentimes the hotel rooms are just empty and will be cheaper – if you ask for it. Always check hotels.com or trivago (or other hotel deal sites) for the best prices and if you don’t think the price is low enough you can try reaching out to the hotel and try to negotiate. Maybe they’ll be willing to give you a better fee if you skip the breakfast or only require cleaning every other day, or maybe they will be willing to upgrade you to a suite for the price of a regular room. Pick up the phone, introduce yourself politely, and start negotiating!
luxury hotels on a budget

 

Do you have any other tips when it comes to staying in luxury hotels on a limited budget? Let me know in the comments.

(This post contains adlinks. When you click on them and buy something from them, I get a small percentage of the sale. These sums can help me with managing the costs associated with running liveandletsgo.com and I very much appreciate you using my links.)

Pictures via Pixabay under CC0 license.

Personal

Milestones and the past week

June 13, 2016

Last week was very eventful to say the least! On Monday, Jacob was up for his final exams and graduated as doctor. Finally! When I met Jacob, almost 7 years ago, he was studying physical education and had a year left. And then he told me he planned on becoming a doctor. He had applied to different schools in Denmark and we didn’t know if he would be able to stay in Copenhagen and continue our relationship (I lived in Sweden at the time), or if he would have to move and we would have to end things. It was stressful to say the least, but he got into the University of Copenhagen and has been studying ever since. It hasn’t been easy at times with both sickness and death in his family, but he managed to do it all. So needless to say I was extremely proud of him when he was done that day. We celebrated with champagne in the sun with two of our friends and later we invited our friends over for wine and take-out. It was a pretty good Monday! 😉

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Ready to pop the champagne! 🙂

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My sister and her boyfriend were there to celebrate with us

On Wednesday it was my birthday and we went out to eat at Spuntino, an Italian restaurant run by Cofoco and located in Vesterbro. The food was great (except for the fact I got hair in one of my meals!) but overall it wasn’t amazing. We had a fun evening though, as we always do.

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Me on my birthday. Not posing AT ALL 😉

On Friday it was time for Jacob to take the final step in becoming a doctor and sign a declaration that all doctors in Denmark must sign. After that, we had a lovely breakfast at Sidecar, a hip new place in Nørrebro. We waited for forever for the food to arrive but it was really tasty so it was worth the wait after all. I had a soft-boiled egg with toasted Danish rye bread and a bowl of greek yoghurt with fruit, while Jacob had the most Instagram-friendly brunch I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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Jacob signing the declaration

 

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So tired and ready for breakfast at Sidecar.

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Jacob asked to have his brunch vegetarian and it was so delicious!

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Egg, yoghurt and mint tea is a great way to start the day…

Friday night was spent baking all evening because my family was coming over the next day to celebrate my birthday. I used to have like 5 different birthdays a few years ago. One with mom. One with dad. One with Jacob. One with my sister. One with all my friends. It was exhausting (but fun!) so I’ve cut it down to just twice – once with Jacob on the actual day and once with my family. We ate vegetarian lasagna and pizza and had a rather failed (if you ask me) version of a Devil’s food cake. Oh well. It was fun, but it got late and I had a bit to drink so Sunday was really, really hard.

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Pretty roses

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And my beautiful sister celebrating me (our dad is watching football/soccer in the background..ehh..)

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My cat Nemo decided to be a social version of himself for the occasion

Tonight I’m just spending the evening in my couch with my cats and the Mindy Project on TV – not bad at all.

Travel

How To Be An Animal-Friendly Traveller

June 13, 2016
animal-friendly traveller

Summer’s coming up and most of us leave our countries of residence to soak up the sun, culture and ambience of another country with our loved ones. For many, this involves going some place new and discovering what the local attractions have to offer. Unfortunately, it often involves some sort of animal activities: zoos, dolphin shows or something else where people who are curious and love these creatures are drawn in and unbeknownst to themselves support an industry that is inhumane for the very animals we care about. You don’t have to stop eating local meats or cheeses if you don’t want to, but being an animal-friendly traveller is actually really easy and makes all the difference for the animals.

The animals in question do not have to be endangered species for it to be animal cruelty – rather it’s about the conditions they live under and how they are trained in order to follow instructions from humans. I’ve made the mistake myself in my younger days, not realizing that my well meaning and curiosity was in fact contributing to the exploitation and cruel treatment of the animals. So here’s how to make sure that you are an animal-friendly traveller this summer and all the summers to come!

Avoid zoos, acquariums, riding on elephants etc.

Does the activity involve watching, touching or taking pictures with animals who are confined and not in their natural environment? Are you offered to ride an elephant, a camel or a donkey? Be smart about it. Many zoos and acquariums claim that they are doing conservation efforts and study the animals but that is not a good reason to keep them locked in small confinements, much smaller than their natural habitat. There are countless examples of this, SeaWorld being the most famous one, where animals die from being mistreated. While elephants and camels do get to walk around, they also stand in the sun for many hours just waiting for tourists to pass by and often have to carry hundreds of people per day. Sometimes they are left with no water or food and are trained, often with cruel methods, to not be agressive towards humans. If you wouldn’t ride an elephant in its natural habitat, please don’t do so elsewhere either.

Is a sanctuary a sanctuary?

Many places claim to be sanctuaries for animals, but many of them have proven to have hidden agendas and in fact exploit the animals themselves. Google the places you plan on visiting or contact a local animal right’s group and ask them if the place treats its animals well. Just because a place claims to be saving animals, doesn’t mean they necessarily do. This is especially true in Asia, with many elephant or tiger “sanctuaries” who invite tourists to pet the wild animals.

Don’t buy cruel souvenirs

Many places you can buy souvenirs made from animals – shark teeth necklaces, “medicine” made from animal blood, shells from turtles or sea animals etc. Don’t buy these! Most places have other beautiful, hand-made souvenirs that you can take home instead of something that has put an animal through torture.

Speak up!

Here’s one I think that especially us Scandinavians need to be a lot better at! Often we tend to not speak up in order to avoid confrontation but it’s really, really important that you show that animal cruelty is not okay. If your travel agency offers excursions where animals are exploited – let them know it’s not okay! If you see something on the street where an animal is exploited or hurt – please do speak up! Report offences towards animals to the local authorities. If you see a hurt or homeless animal – contact a local shelter. If travellers show that we do not accept animal cruelty, travel agencies, hotels and governments might move towards a more humane tourism in their countries.

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Photos via Pixabay.com/CC0 Public Domain

Beauty

5 Quick Summer Hair Tips

May 31, 2016

Summer is finally approaching here in Northern Europe. Longer evenings, sunny days and barbecue evenings makes the otherwise semi-introverted Scandinavians rush outside and enjoy the few days of real summer weather that we have. That’s how summer should be spent. Yet some of us also notice the change of season on our hair. It becomes dry and brittle for some, oily for others and we can think of more fun things to do than spend hours fixing our hair when the weather’s nice, right? So here are five quick hair tips for taking care of your hair this summer – whether you’re traveling or not.

Hair scalp problems – change shampoo

Is your hair scalp really dry or really oily? The change in weather can affect your scalp, so your old shampoo might actually not work as well as it used it. Tackle your problems and use gentle hair products and your scalp will thank you!

Wear a scarf or a hat

Whether you have short hair, long hair or no hair, wearing a protective sun hat or a scarf is a must. Your hair only protects your hair scalp from the sun’s rays to a certain extent. You always put some sun screen on your face and body, yet the scalp is forgotten by many. A hat or scarf helps protect your hair scalp from sun burns and your hair from UV damage, such as change of hair color. Here are some ideas:

hats

Hands off the tools

I know, I know. Staying away from the straightener or the hair dryer can be hard if you want to look somewhat like your usual self. However, blow drying and straightening or curling the hair damages it a lot. Summer is the perfect season to lay off these things because you can just let your hair air dry without freezing your head off. Air drying is better for both the scalp and the hair and if you’re going traveling, you don’t even have to bring the hair dryer along = more clothes in your bag! I especially love the hair style you get when you braid your hear, bathe in the ocean with it, let it dry and then take your braids out. Hello Beyoncé-locks!

Cold water wash

When washing your hair, try washing it in cold water. Too hot water can irritate your scalp, and the cold water seems to make the hair shinier. Plus, it feels really, really good taking a cold shower when it’s hot outside.

Moisturize

Use conditioner every time you wash your hair and/or hair treatments once a week to keep your hair moisturized and to prevent it from drying out.

 

 

Top picture from H&M.
This post contains ad-links to Nelly.com

 

Food, Places I've Been, Travel

Dinner at Michelin-starred River Café in Brooklyn

May 13, 2016
River Café in Brooklyn, New York

When planning my trip to New York, I really wanted to visit the restaurant that Meg Ryan has dinner in in Sleepless in Seattle. I found out it was the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center and booked a table only to find it was a special occasion that cost way more than I was willing to give for a dinner without wine. So I researched some more and found that River Café in Brooklyn was a good alternative, with an even better view. Of course, I booked a table right away.

We arrived a bit late, but our table wasn’t ready so we grabbed a drink in the bar, right after we had picked our chins off the floor. We had hurried through the Dumbo area of Brooklyn from the subway and when we finally found the place we were astonished by not only the view but the atmosphere outside of the restaurant. I mean, take a look at the picture above as well as this one and tell me you’re not impressed:

river café new york brooklyn

River Café in the front with the Manhattan skyline in the back

We had the most amazing view from the restaurant over the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Our amise bouche arrived, which was octopus, so we politely asked for a vegetarian version and the friendly server soon arrived with a cold asparagus soup. They don’t have an a la carte menu, as we had first thought,  but a three course menu where you get to choose your meals from a menu.

For starters, I ordered the handmade ricotta gnocchi with asparagus spears, grilled wild ramps, salsify purée and crispy guanciale. No, I have no idea what the last two are but it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – it was that good. Jacob ordered the beet salad with goat cheese and was also impressed – although not as impressed as I was with my meal. I wanted to order it again for the main course, but instead chose the only vegetarian thing on the menu: the mushroom wellington which was a vegetarian take on the beef wellington and it was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Of course, I was again delighted! How could something so simple taste so good? Jacob, who rarely eats meat, ordered the duck breast and he said it was the best damn piece of meat he’d ever had.

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Jacob’s beet salad

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Vegetarian choice: Mushroom Wellington, with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

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The best damn duck in the world, according to Jacob.

As we sat in our little corner overlooking the rest of the room and the big windows with the spectacular view, the servers catered to our every need, never letting our wine or water glasses get even remotely empty.

After a little rest & digest, we ordered our desserts: Jacob ordered the Chocolate Brooklyn Bridge with raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and meringue while I ordered a milk chocolate soufflé (without the marshmallow as it’s not vegetarian) with hot fudge and Tahitan vanilla bean ice milk. As you can tell by that description alone, we weren’t disappointed. As we were about to devour our desserts, the server came up and said it was about time we moved up to the first row of tables for a n even better view of night-time Manhattan. We happily agreed.

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The chocolate Brooklyn Bridge…yum!

Everything about this restaurant was pure perfection and it was only when we were about to leave that I saw that it has indeed been rewarded a Michelin-star not once, but twice. I wasn’t surprised at all, as it genuinly was a an excellent restaurant with delicious, yet unpretentious food, an impressive wine and cocktail list, and impeccable service.

As we sat in the cab heading back to Manhattan, impressed beyond or expectations, we did feel a bit guilty having spent so much money on food and drinks – but considering it was a night we’ll always remember, we decided it was 100 percent worth it.

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Copenhagen, Food

Vegan Restaurants in Copenhagen: Souls

May 12, 2016
Souls Copenhagen

The vegan diet and lifestyle has taken over Copenhagen lately – supermarkets have begun to offer everything from vegan cheese to vegan sausages and more and more restaurants put vegan items on their otherwise meat-fixated menus. This is of course fantastic news, considering Denmark in general has been a country so obsessed with meat and milk that it borderlines crazy. Crazy, but not all that surprising considering the fact that one of the world’s biggest milk producers, Arla, is Danish and that pig meat production here is so large that there are five times more pigs than people.

It’s been a slow process to say the least, but finally more and more people have opened their eyes up to the downsides of  meat and milk production and consumption: it’s bad for the animals, it’s bad for the planet, and it’s not great for our health. So the fact that there are now more options than ever for those who don’t eat animal products at all, and for those just trying to cut back, is nothing short of fantastic, if you ask me. A bonus to this is that restauranteurs see opportunities to cater to these needs, which has resulted in not only vegan-friendly courses in restaurants but full-on vegan restaurants as well. One of these is newly opened Souls, located on a small street in Østerbro. On Friday, Matthew, who is one of the co-owners, invited me and Linn – who also took all these gorgeous photos) over for a taste of their coming dinner menu. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

We started off with a broccoli and vegetable pie, called Souls’ summer pie, made completely free from milk, eggs and other animal products. This was served with a grilled cherry tomato salad with balsamic vinegar, olives and herbs.

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We moved on to the two smørrebrød. Matthew explained them to me really well but I stopped listening after he said truffles, so I asked Souls’ chef about them – one is made with a potato salad, and the other with veggie patties. They are absolutely delicious and also our favorites. The bread was home made and gluten-free, a re-make of the classic (and often meat-crazed) Danish food smørrebrød.

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 After this and a glass of wine, we were pretty full but we were only half way on our tasting menu. Next, Matthew served us a delicious “pasta” dish made with rice noodles and oyster mushrooms, zucchini, caramelized onions and parsley with tamari roasted walnuts….. I loved the fact that it was a hot meal and not raw, which is very popular among vegan restaurants. Sometimes we want a hot, nice meal and this pasta/noodle dish satisfies all my cravings.

 

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When the button on my jeans almost popped, we were in for dessert – a vegan cheesecake with a cashew/almond base and a yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit) topping.

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After a quick chat, we left so full and so satisfied,  with plans to definitely come back in the near future. Linn, who normally eats meat, was also very impressed and said that she wouldn’t even had thought about it not containing meat, had she not known it was vegan when she came. I think that’s a great review and exactly how any good vegan chef wants his/her food to be described: nothing is “missing” in vegan food.

If you’re looking to visit Souls, you can do so at Melchiors Plads 3 in Østerbro. And if you want more information about good, vegan restaurants in Copenhagen you can check ut my full list right here.

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Cheers!

 

All photos by Linn Gullberg